By: Joe LoPilato, Derron Bishop, & Hanna DelaGardelle—
Muncie, Indiana—Students, staff, and faculty of Muncie Center for Medical Education/IU School of Medicine-Muncie participated in the Second Harvest Food Bank Distribution. Over 50 members of the Muncie campus helped pass out foodstuffs, including dairy, grain, and vegetable products that will impact an estimated 1000 families. In addition, students went car-to-car to conduct health histories and connect individuals to the new student-run Healthy Lifestyle Center (HLC) in Muncie. In total, they were able to sign up 42 individuals for HLC’s services and provided information to dozens more. As part of the School of Medicine’s Foundation of Clinical Practice course, this integrative encounter is a hypostatization of the Social Determinants of Health tenet incorporated into the school of medicine’s curriculum.
“Through the Second Harvest Tailgate program, IUSM students were able to connect large numbers of underserved families to resources they didn’t even know existed —all while serving the community,” explained Bilal Jawed (MS1). “As medical students, we were able to gain clinical experience taking histories and providing screenings, but more importantly, as community members we were able to give back. As coordinators for the event, it was heartening to see both medical student volunteers and also tailgate participants so receptive and eager to learn despite the brisk weather and early hour.”
Affectionately called “The HLC”, the Health Lifestyle Center is a community-based outreach program formed in collaboration between Ball State University’s College of Health, IUSM-Muncie, and Meridian Health Services. The HLC serves as a resource for Muncie and Delaware County community members who want to improve their personal health and well-being. Graduate professional students and medical students volunteer as “Healthy Lifestyle Assistants” to provide free education and consultations on healthy lifestyle choices in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise science, audiology and speech pathology, and mental health. Healthy Lifestyle Assistants work one-on-one with clients to establish goals and create a personalized health action plan. They also connect clients to additional resources in Delaware County, including primary care physicians, exercise classes, food banks, and more. The Healthy Lifestyles Center is open to all, regardless of income or insurance coverage.